Union County NJ Cohabitation Lawyer

Cohabitation is often a highly complex and extremely conflict-ridden issue, particularly with regard to divorce and alimony arrangements. When one former spouse chooses to begin living with another person, the question of cohabitation comes to a head. The party who is paying alimony may seek to terminate making alimony payments, citing the recipient’s change in financial circumstances. However, with the Alimony Reform Bill of 2014, the State expanded its definition of cohabitation to include relationships that do not necessarily involve a shared residence. Regardless of the situation, any legal obligations regarding alimony payments must be addressed through post-divorce modification proceedings. These matters must be managed with a deft hand, often requiring further investigation and well-crafted arguments to be successfully resolved. Attorney Edward S. Cooper has accumulated a wealth of experience in the realm of family and divorce law in New Jersey. Contact his Union County offices for a consultation at 908-481-4625.

Defining Cohabitation in New Jersey

As mentioned above, New Jersey’s Alimony Reform Act significantly expanded the definition of cohabitation as it applies to divorce and other family law matters. Under the State’s current policy, cohabitation is defined as “a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.” In order to determine if cohabitation is taking place, the court must assess the following considerations:

  1. Intermingled finances such as joint bank accounts and other joint holdings or liabilities;
  2. Shared or joint responsibility for living expenses;
  3. Recognition of the relationship in the couple’s family and social circle;
  4. Living together, the frequency of contact, the duration of the relationship, and other indicia of a mutually supportive intimate personal relationship;
  5. Shared household chores;
  6. Whether the alimony recipient has received an enforceable promise of support from another individual within the meaning of subsection h. of R.S.25:1-5;
  7. The relationship’s length; and
  8. Any additional relevant evidence.

If the standard for cohabitation is met, this does not automatically translate into grounds for a reduction in alimony. The cohabitation must constitute a significant change in circumstances with accompanying economic consequences. Essentially, this means that in order to modify or terminate alimony payments, the recipient must be deriving an economic benefit from the cohabitation.

Call a Plainfield NJ Cohabitation Attorney

With the complexity of cohabitation issues and the significant financial implications of these determinations, it is highly advisable to discuss your unique situation with an experienced attorney. Contact Edward S. Cooper today at 908-481-4625 for a case evaluation.